Monday, October 12, 2015

Comic Feedback: Beyond the Western Deep

I had a chance to read Beyond the Western Deep recently, and wow.

It's fantastic!  I loved it.  It's rare to encounter an independent comic where all aspects are so well-tuned, and everything is being optimally delivered.

The story is excellently crafted so far.   The groundwork for the world is well laid, setting up the various factions, adding threads of tension throughout.

And the character introductions are excellent.  From Quinn to Hardin, it's engaging.  The narrative has the light, effortless feel that one sees in a gold medal gymnast performing at their peak.   I can only imagine a mountain of work behind the scenes.

The character reactions are organic, believable, endearing:  And yet not a line seems to be wasted, everything serves to construct personality and situation, with subtle (and overt) conflict keeping the reader totally engaged.

Quinn's relationship with his adversarial brother, details like the differing fighting styles unique to the species, the moral quandaries that will soon be facing the lead characters-

The narrative seems to be heading straight for complex gray areas, difficult struggles where the stakes are high- but there's no heavy-handed right and wrong.  This seems to be a story where we can understand where everyone is coming from, we relate to their needs, and yet their needs lead directly to bloodshed.

And the art taking us on this ride- lush!   The style is pitch perfect.  The characters are cartoony yet solid.

They emote magnificently, with a subtle range of emotion conveying exactly the right tone for their lines.

The style feels natural.  The shading on the figures isn't over-wrought, seems airy and minimal- yet everyone seems well grounded in their setting.  Subtle artistry accomplishes amazing results.  And the backgrounds themselves are welcoming.  Detailed without being cluttered, atmospheric without being distracting.

The overall result is just... powerfully appealing.

Reading this book for the first time felt like returning to something classic.

If you like the genre of tales like Redwall or Mouseguard, this is one you'll want to check out!

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